Disclaimer: If I owned Alice in Wonderland, it'd be filled with so much yaoi it would be illegal to even think about. -_-;
Author's Note: It takes a while to get started, but when it does get going, it's going to be great!
"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."
--Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
What is it? It plagues us; for some a blessing, for others a curse. It is inescapable, undeniable, unending and irresistible; and yet, strangely malleable. It contains all there ever was, is and will be. It is something that exists independently of ideas concerning it. Something that exists independently of all things and from which all other things derive. It is ignored, it is struggled with, it rolls on impervious. It has never lost a single battle. It lives on undying; always eternal. Mankind has always been obsessed with it. They have attempted to destroy, remake and banish it. It is a tempest, a swirling, all-encompassing hurricane that moves at unpredictable speeds.
But for Nero, time didn't seem to pass at all.
He sat quietly, in his usual seat in class. The seat in the back that was perpetually basked in sunlight. He settled into it with a soft sigh as the metal chair's heat seeped into his skin. He brushed away the hair on his neck, instead sweeping the shoulder length black strands over his right shoulder. He gazed dreamily out the window and stared at his reflection. With his long black hair, slanted eyes, and slender build, Nero was the type of boy you had to look at twice to realize it really was a boy.
'Good,' he thought. 'One more difference between us.'
He was nothing special. Just your average unkempt highschooler. One more kid trying not to conform and making myself like everyone else in the process. He wore the same generic brand of skinny jeans, the same band tees, the same shoes as everyone else. Sometimes he wished he was different. But there was no way to be your own person when everyone expects you to be someone else.
He glanced up at the clock: twelve o' clock. Nero groaned and let himself slide a little farther into the seat. There were at least another two hours of school.
'And then work,' he noted glumly. 'And that monstrous project I've been procrastinating on all month.'
He sighed again.
"Is my lesson boring you, Nero?" Mr. Klaedosvisch boomed, his German-tinted English resounding through the classroom. Mr. Klaedosvisch was a great toad of a man, all stomach and a fat doughy face. His eyes bulged from their sockets more than his multiple stomachs bulged from his shirt. His skin was an unnatural yellow tint, as if Clifford the Big Red Dog had squatted down and taken the mother of all pisses on him.
He smelled sort of like piss, too.
'He has enough jelly rolls to start his own bakery,' Nero thought sourly. He kept his dark eyes fastened onto the desk. Direct eye contact with Mr. Klaedosvisch was 'an act of defiance', as he put it.
"Do you not find the Industrial Revolution entertaining enough? Because of course you're not here to learn, seeing as how you're not taking notes with the rest of the class," he continued, gesturing to the other students. A few of them snickered, low enough so that Mr. Klaedosvisch wouldn't hear them.
"Do you think you're above the rest of them, simply because you're father is the principal?" he continued to rant. Spit flew from his mouth as he spoke, and Nero winced as it landed on the girl sitting up front. She looked like she was about to cry.
He began to pace around his desk, the curriculum long forgotten. Nero's fists clenched at his side, knuckles going white from the pressure.
"Well, young man, let me tell you something. I'm not going to try and curry favor with you like the other teachers because of your father. Because you're not your father. You'll never be that man, not ever-"
Mr. Klaedosvisch looked up, stopping mid-rant. "Well, students, no matter how engaging," he paused, sending a bug-eyed glare Nero's way, "it seems that a fire drill's been scheduled. Grab your back packs, push your chairs in, and please line up in an orderly fashion."
Nero slung his backpack over his shoulder angrily. The others had already pushed ahead into the line, and so he slunk into the back of the line. He bit his lip angrily and stared at his feet as he shuffled out of the classroom with the rest of the class. He had hardly crossed the threshold when a warm hand caught his and spun him around.
A gorgeous green eyed boy grinned toothily up at him. His hair was a vibrant blonde, except for a single purple streak that flopped into his face. Two piercings adorned his left ear. His skin was a soft peach, and his cheeks were dotted with a spattering of freckles. He'd never been attracted to him that way, but Nero had to admit that if Alex were a girl, he'd definitely be attracted to him.
"Alex," Nero gave a small grin, scooting over so his friend could walk beside him. The blonde danced into the line, skipping around in his black skinny jeans and black shirt that said 'WILDLOVE' in bold white letters.
"Yo!" Alex threw up the peace sign quickly. "Hey, that was pretty low back there. Mr. K talking down to you and all. About your dad," he added. "If it makes you feel any better, we could go toilet paper his house tonight or something. Just the two of us." he winked playfully.
Nero rolled his eyes; Alex was flamboyant enough for Cambridge High School's entire bi population, and then some. He teased Nero consequently about it. It didn't really bother him; after all, they'd been friends for their entire lives, and he'd suspected Alex for a long time. Now that they were in their Senior year, he was just a lot more open about himself.
"Oh, one day I'll convert you," Alex vowed as they stepped onto the stairs that led to the 'Fire Safety' zone. It was just the P.E field, which Nero thought was a stupid idea; wouldn't the grass be the first thing to catch in a fire?
"Yeah, and one day you'll be the next Hugh Heffner." Nero said with a little snort. Alex wrinkled his nose in disgust.
"Oh yeah," he said with a roll of his eyes. "And you'll be my first Playboy Bunny!" he shouted and slapped Nero's behind with extreme prejudice. Nero glowered and kicked him in the shin.
"Nero! Detention for talking during a silent drill!" a voice boomed; Nero spun around. Mr. Klaedosvisch seemingly materialized beside them, which was a pretty amazing feat for a man the size of a small planet. The man looked down at him from his wart of a nose. "Your father will hear about this." he hissed. He walked away as fast as he could as he tried to get back to the front of the line.
"…and he jiggled away," Alex whispered. Nero smiled a little.
The line of students came to a screeching halt at their marked spot on the field and Mr. Klaedosvisch began pacing up and down the line, calling off students names as he went.
"You know, we're alllll the way down here," Alex drawled, flicking his eyes up at Nero through long lashes. He was at least three inches shorter than the dark haired male. "I don't think anyone would notice if we hoped the fence." he said, pointing at the fence. He was right; they were practically back-to-back with the metal barrier. Nero looked to the right. Tricia Moore, a particularly big boned girl, obstructed them from the scrutinizing view of Mr. Klaedosvisch.
"Do you want to?" Nero asked. He tapped his backpack. His stuff was all with him, and he was going to be in trouble anyways when his dad found out about his detention.
Alex grinned in a very cattish, crescent moon sort of way.
A knot tightened in Nero's stomach, but he didn't know why.
"Of course I do." Alex chuckled. He bent down, hands stretched in front of him. Nero stepped into his palms.
"After you, princess," Alex whispered, and Nero went sailing over the fence to freedom.
And maybe more.
The hot Californian sun beat down on their necks as they walked around the downtown section of San Diego. They walked around aimlessly, stepping into store after store.
"Let's go into another clothing store!" Alex beamed.
"Hell no. There's no way I'm watching you put on another dress. I'm already mentally scarred, thank you very much." Nero said quickly.
Alex glared and shoved him in the shoulder, causing Nero to stumble into the street and nearly get hit by a passing big rig.
"Go die," Alex glowered darkly. Nero simply shrugged. Alex's mood changed like crazy.
"Are you thirsty?" Alex said suddenly. He dug around his pocket and fished out some crumpled fives and some grimy change. "Because I know I sure as hell am. Let's go to Starbucks." he suggested, nodding his head towards the building. Nero shrugged again. He was thirsty.
Almost dying can do that to you sometimes.
"But I'm not going inside with you." Nero stated. "There's no way I'm going into a building filled with the smell of caffeine with you, of all people." Alex laughed and said he'd be back in a few minutes.
"Just be a good girl and wait for me, 'kay?" he winked and ran inside before the raven haired boy could grab him and beat the living shit out of him.
With nothing left to do, Nero plopped down onto one of the outside tables. After a minute or so he got tired of this and crossed the street into Borders.
And that's when it happened.
He stepped out of the bookstore, holding a small plastic bag in his hands. He was turning, wondering if Alex had gotten the drinks yet, when something small and very, very fast collided with the back of his legs.
Needless to say, the effect was not a very grand one.
Nero fell unceremoniously on his bottom, legs splayed, on the concrete. Crouching in the 'V' of his legs was a young boy, no older than six, in shorts and a dress-up suit top. His hair was the same soft, pure color of snow. His large doe eyes were a startling shade of blue.
On first inspection, Nero thought he was just another weird kid, the usual product of life in San Diego. On his second glance, Nero saw something that threw the first inspection straight out the metaphorical window.
Because, sprouting from the middle of his head, were two flufftastic rabbit ears.
"Owowowowoowowowowowoowowowww!" he gurgled. "Watch where ya' standin' mistah! You don't own the thidewalk!"
"Excuse me?" Nero sputtered, somewhere in between irritation and awe. He got to his feet and looked down at him, trying to figure out where the headband the fake ears were connected to was nestled in the mess of hair. The lispy kid glared up at him and scrutinized his face. All of a sudden his expression changed from rude defiance to surprise.
"Awice?" he squeaked. Nero stared at him.
"What's 'Awice'?" he repeated dumbly.
The little boy jumped up and reached into his suit pocket, fishing out a small gold pocket watch. He inspected it for a moment, twisting it this way and that as he looked down at it. Nero watched in confused silence.
"Oh my gawshness!" the boy cried. "We're wrate!" he turned and began sprinting down the sidewalk, shoving people's shins aside.
Nero watched from where he stood, wondering what the hell had just happened. The kid had rabbit ears, for goodness' sake.
'Kids can't have rabbit ears,' he told himself sternly. 'It's impossible.'
Nero turned to leave. But a nagging feeling tugged at his chest, something that was pulling him towards the little weirdo, telling him to follow him.
"Well, I can't just let a kid wander off by himself out here," he reasoned with himself. It was a bullshit reason to explain the feeling in his chest, and he knew it, but Nero went chasing after the kid anyways.
Nero took off down the stretch of sidewalk, weaving through the steady stream if pedestrians. He looked around for a glimpse of the child.
"Shit!" Nero hissed. 'Did I lose him?'
"Awice! Awice, where ish yah? Aaawiiiicccceee!" came a voice from his left. Ducking down an alleyway, Nero skid to a stop.
Three guys held the struggling kid in their hands. They were at least three heads taller than him, with pecs the size of watermelons and muscles that would make any bodybuilder cringe. They noticed him. Nero bit his lip and held his ground even though every nerve in his body burned for him to run. Even when the men came closer and closer and closer, he couldn't convince himself to run. And now he had to fight them.
"This brat wi' you?" said one. His head resembled a big, tan egg that was overcooked and slightly lopsided. The short cropped hair on his head was shaved on both sides. A pair of sunglasses balanced precariously on his bulbous nose.
"I didn't say that," Nero said quickly. Inwardly he cursed his own cowardice. "I just don't want to see some kid get hurt."
Struggling to pry his mouth free from one of their sweaty hands, the kid squealed. "Awice! Kick their booties and wet's go home!"
"So he is with you!" one snarled, balling his ham-sized hands into fists. "Good. Then you can pay for the hundred dollar shoes he just scuffed!"
His eyes flickered between the lot of them. Reaching one hand slowly back, he grabbed his wallet in the back of his pocket and pulled it out. He wrenched it open quickly. Nothing. Not even some lousy change.
But they'd kill the kid if he told them that. "Alright, guys," he said slowly, inching forward. "I've got the money. Hand me the kid, and I'll hand you the wallet." he hoped these were the stupid kind of thugs.
"…fine." said the middle one again, whom he assumed was their leader. "But you hand it over first."
"Alright." Nero inched closer with the wallet. He outstretched his hand. "I'll hand it over on three. One, two, three."
He extended his hand.
And promptly kicked him in the sack.
He went down with a howl. Nero scooped up the brat in his arms and immediately turned and began to haul ass out of the alley way.
He hoped that the few years he had taken track would pay off.
He ran for a solid minute before the sound of pursuit began to catch up to him. The 'clunk' and 'thud' of immense property damage sped up the pace of his already palpitating heart.
"Weft!" the little boy screeched suddenly. "Take a weft, Awice!"
He didn't know why he listened, but he did.
Skidding in a small half circle, Nero darted left towards the park. He hurtled the hedge of bushes and sprinted across the green at a breakneck speed. He threw a glance over his shoulder; they were hot on his tail.
"Thewe it is!"
Nero turned his head at the sudden shout and skid to a stop.
Starting where his toes ended was a large construction hole. Brown, crumbly teeth extended towards him, framing the gaping mouth of the earth monster. It's vastness pulled at him, and suddenly the tugging feeling was no longer pulling him towards the by, but at the hole.
"We'we awmost there! We're awmost there!" the boy wiggled excitedly and looked up at him with the biggest blue eyes he'd ever seen. "C'mon, Awice! Jump!"
"We'll die!" Nero shouted. He scrabbled away from the enormous earth scar.
"Thewe's no time!" the boy said in frustration. He grabbed Nero's hair and leaned away from him.
"Weeeeeet's GO!" he yanked, once, upsetting Nero's center of balance.
And, next thing he knew, he was falling to his death.